This article was originally published on Instructions Sold Separately.
When we think of the concept of imagination we travel back in time to our own childhood. We think of playing pretend, exploring nature’s bounty, creating contraptions and wondering what lies beyond the stars. As a child you are roaming the world trying to enjoy it, understand it, and become a part of it. Now that I have kids of my own I get a second chance to relive my childhood through their minds and spirit. I observe how they play with objects around the house other than their toys. I see how they focus on things that we seem to dismiss as being ‘no big deal’ like a colony of ants or blades of grass. The best is when everything they do brings them joy because they learned a new skill or discovered something interesting. Learning from my kids is helping me to understand how my childhood influenced the person I am today. It is showing me what values and principles I want to institute within my family to encourage self-growth.
Growing up I was not an imaginative child. My sense of imagination was always framed within my current reality. This was partly due to the hardships my family endured while growing up which made me leave Neverland a lot sooner than most kids. Nonetheless I still maintained a sense of creativity. I use to draw, create crafts using things around the house, I would journal and most of all read. I have always liked to work with my hands and build something. Looking back now I realized that no matter what my creative outlook was I did not create anything if it did not serve a purpose or maximized my resources. For a kid that can be limiting because it doesn’t allow for experimentation or further curiosity. As an adult it seems more practical especially when responsibility is always calling your name. Being creative or having some-type of creative outlook brings a sense of calm, re-calibrates your spirit and helps brings about perspective.
After some reflection I have come to understand that imagination comes in different forms but the two main aspects include the ability to tell a story and the second is the skill to be clever within any situation. The story telling aspect of imagination involves developing characters, illustrating emotions and finding different endings to any story. Putting my son to sleep is one bitter sweet parts of my day so I began to tell him stories about a prince who has adventures with his friends the Lion, Tiger and the Elephant. These stories are not elaborate or have exciting story lines but somehow the stories always end with Prince going to sleep and my son loves the stories. It helps to calm him down enough to fall asleep. The other aspect of imagination which involves cleverness and I think it mainly comes into play with conflict resolution whether it be martial or parental. How to look at a situation from various perspectives and analyze not only yourself but others around you to come to an understanding.
All in all, it’s about pushing the boundaries of your mind to think and feel differently, understand fully and create accordingly.